If your kiddos are always clamoring to visit the same places over and over again, then consider a family membership to one of these local jaunts! Now, more then ever, your favorite DC destination needs your support. A family membership provides the necessary funding these organizations rely on to carry out their mission with one awesome benefit to you: a discounted experience. In just a handful of visits, these memberships basically pay for themselves.

photo: International Spy Museum via Yelp 

International Spy Museum
Let your favorite sleuth indulge in a day of espionage at the newly re-opened International Spy Museum. This glossy new building is home to the largest collection of espionage artifacts in the world. You’ll learn how some of the greatest spies of all time stole secrets and get a glimpse of the gadgets and gears that they used. Go on your own covert mission and learn to crack codes and analyze gathered intelligence to make informed decisions. If an afternoon of the ultimate Escape Room sounds like family fun, nab this membership for unlimited access.

Family membership: $199 for 2 adults and up to 5 children
Compare that to: $24.95/adults; $16.95/youth 7-16
COVID-19 Update: Safety measures are in place, including mask requirements, a heightened cleaning protocol and limited visitor admissions.

700 L’Enfant Plaza SW
L’Enfant Plaza
Online: spymuseum.org

photo: Jennifer M. via Yelp 

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
With a family membership, you can stroll the grounds of Mount Vernon for an entire year, grab audio books, tour guides and get advanced notice of popular sure-to-sell-out events for no additional cost. If you have a large family, this membership is particularly cost effective (there is no cap on children included). The grounds and mansion offer a great place to have a schoolcation for hands-on learning. With over 500 acres to explore, this is a great place to socially distance while enjoying the gardens and grounds.

Family membership: $159/year for two people plus unlimited children under 18
Compare that to: $20/adults; $12/youth 6-11 for both grounds and mansion tour
COVID-19 Update: Safety measures are in place, including mask requirements, a heightened cleaning protocol and limited visitor admissions.

700 L’Enfant Plaza SW
L’Enfant Plaza
Online: spymuseum.org

photo: Museum of The Shenandoah Valley via Yelp 

Muesum of The Shenandoah Valley
For the average family of 4, this membership can pay off in just 2 visits. Museum of The Shenandoah Valley (MSV) is a day trip from DC (it is a 1.5 hour drive), but with so much to see and do both in the galleries and on the grounds, a single visit will leave you longing to com back. Currently, the museum is featuring David Rogers’ Big Bugs, an outdoor art installation that features over-sized, giant insects. I

Family membership: $90/2 adults and all children under 18
Compare that to: $15/adult; $10/senior and youth (13-18); $5/children 5-12; free/4 & under
COVID-19 Update: Masks must be worn indoors.

901 Amherst Street
Winchester, VA, 22601
Online: themsv.org/visit

MINT Health Club and Spa
Family memberships at MINT are your ticket to self-care serenity: sweat it out at a Power Playground class, follow it up with a facial and a hot stone massage, and emerge glistening and refreshed to go scoop up your cherubs from on-site childcare. (No, this is not an alternate universe.) The kids will love the LEGOs, puzzles, books, and toys. You’ll love the class selection, eucalyptus-infused face towels, and extensive cardio equipment.

Family membership: $258/month (with unlimited classes) for two adults and their children
Biggest perk: Unlimited childcare (four months-12 years) at the Dupont location
COVID-19 Update:

1724 California St. NW
Dupont Circle


photo: Smithsonian National Zoo

The National Zoo
With just three visits to the zoo, the FONZ (Friends of the National Zoo) family membership (“Premier” level) pays for itself! Spend more time ogling the animals and less time searching for street parking. 

Family memberships starting at: $84 for two adults, two children
Compare that to: Parking $30/visit
COVID-19 Update: Parking must be reserved in advanced and are limited to one visit/week. Pedestrian passes are also available in advance. The carousel and train are currently closed due to COVID.

3001 Connecticut Ave. NW
Woodley Park

National Aquarium
They had us at “Giant Waxy Tree Frog” and “Fairy Basselets”—really, the menagerie of animals at the National Aquarium is one-of-a-kind. And, with a family membership, you’ll be able to stomach the (admittedly considerable) expense a bit easier. Get reduced prices on food while you’re there, and receive a free subscription to their magazine, Watermarks, to continue your aquatic adventure even after you’re back at home.

Family memberships starting at: $195 for two adults, four children (ages 3-21)
Compare that to: $39.95/adult and $29.95/child
COVID-19 Update: Temperature checks are required prior to entry; all guests 2 & up must wear masks; visitor occupancy is at 25%.

501 East Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD
Online: aqua.org

—Meghan Yudes Meyers and Katie Brown


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